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The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida
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Date Posted 10/29/2019
Philanthropy-Senior/Executive Management
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled

The Society of the Four Arts (the Four Arts) was founded in 1936 to offer quality cultural programming in drama, art, music, and literature to the growing resort community of Palm Beach, Florida. Each season, the Four Arts offers a dynamic lineup of notable speakers, concerts, films, educational programs, and art exhibitions that are immensely popular and often oversubscribed. The campus is home to beautiful sculpture and botanical gardens, an art gallery and 700-seat auditorium, a library, a children’s library, and a state-of-the-art educational facility. All the Four Arts’ programs are open to the public. 

The Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery Building, designed by famed architect Addison Mizner, is home to a diverse and ever-changing schedule of traveling art exhibitions. Also, in the O’Keeffe, the Walter S. Gubelmann Auditorium hosts the Esther B. O’Keeffe Speaker Series with notable speakers from the fields of politics, culture, and the media, a thriving classical music program featuring renowned individual artists and world-class chamber music performances, as well as popular broadcasts of The Met: Live in HD, the Bolshoi Ballet, and National Theatre of London productions offered throughout the season. 

The recently renovated Four Arts King Library, which serves as the town library for Palm Beach, boasts a collection of more than 70,000 books, periodicals, DVDs, and other media. Lively book discussion groups take place several times a month and are open to the public at no charge. The Children’s Library offers a free story time program twice a week for preschool-aged children, and special events for children of all ages throughout the year. 

The Four Arts’ newest facility, the Dixon Education Building, is home to Campus on the Lake cultural education programs, which include lectures, workshops, classes, and field trips exploring the topics of art, music, literature, drama, and the art of living well. Each program features outstanding international and local speakers who pursue varied forms of the arts. The landmarked 1920s building was renovated and revitalized by the Four Arts in 2013, preserving the facility’s landmarked exterior while modernizing the interior for 21st-century learning. With classrooms, an auditorium, an art studio, and even an apartment for a visiting artist, the Dixon Education Building serves as Palm Beach County’s home for lifelong learning.

The Four Arts Botanical Gardens are demonstration gardens designed in 1938 by members of The Garden Club of Palm Beach to help new arrivals to South Florida who were struggling with gardening in the state’s tropical climate. The Garden Club continues to maintain the Botanical Gardens today. Adjacent to the botanical gardens is the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden, which showcases carefully selected sculptures in an outdoor museum-like setting. With welcoming pergolas and a large garden pavilion, the Hulitar Sculpture Garden has become a top destination for visitors to the region. The gardens are open seven days a week, and there is no charge for admission.  

Currently, as the state of Florida continues to experience dynamic growth, with a resulting shift in population from seasonal to all-year residents, the Four Arts has begun to explore the prospect of expanding their seasonal schedule, including year-round offerings. Meeting and serving the cultural needs of the region’s fast-growing, well-educated population base is an ongoing challenge and an exciting opportunity. As a cultural center for the region, Palm Beach is also home to a world-class performing arts center – Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, and a notable, newly reconstructed Norman Foster designed Norton Museum of Art. 

The Four Arts ( is governed by an active and engaged Board of Trustees. With a dedicated staff of 45 employees, 33 full time and the others being part time and seasonal, and a membership of 1,125, the Four Arts has an annual operating budget of approximately $9 million and an endowment of $35 million. The institution, which is in excellent financial condition, enjoys the support of a generous membership base as well as the town of Palm Beach, which makes a significant financial contribution for the library each year. There is currently a two- to three-year waitlist for new membership.



Reporting to the Board, the President and CEO (President) will provide strategic leadership, management, and direction for the Four Arts and lead the development of a vision for the organization that integrates the opportunities and potential – programmatic, technological, and otherwise – with the past achievements, traditions, history, and legacy of the institution. 

The President will be expected to nurture a collaborative and aspirational culture within the Four Arts and balance a broad range of internal and external responsibilities and priorities. 

Internally, the President will be expected to: 

  • Quickly understand the business of the Four Arts, its budget, resources, governance, partnerships, and sources of support, and lead strategic planning efforts which will bring clarity to short- and long-term goals and objectives;

  • Manage, supervise, motivate, and evaluate the Four Arts’ staff; ensure clear lines of responsibility and accountability at all levels; foster creativity and encourage cross-departmental programming; 

  • Bring out the best in the Four Arts’ highly skilled and competent team of Directors who handle day-to-day operations as well as long-range event planning; support and work closely with those individuals who are expected to provide the curatorial/programmatic direction for the institution; 

  • Engage and gain the support of the Trustees; find ways to bring forth their best efforts; manage expectations and keep Board members well informed and updated on the Four Arts’ institutional and fiscal standing; ensure, as an advisor to the Board, that the institution’s bylaws and governance practices are up to date and in line with standards of best practice; 

Externally, the President will be expected to: 

  • Continue to enhance the Four Arts’ presence and relevance as an important cultural resource and partner to the Palm Beach community and beyond; 

  • Serve as the principal ambassador and spokesperson for the organization, engaging Trustees and current members while being mindful of efforts to increase participation among younger patrons and attract new audiences; 

  • Take ownership of the Four Arts’ fundraising efforts; cultivate the Four Arts’ already strong base of support from the membership and the community; identify additional sources of support as appropriate; 

  • Nurture membership and volunteer participation; ensure that members are recognized and valued for their support and for their contributions as committee members as appropriate; 

To achieve these goals, the President must demonstrate his or her commitment to excellence in the Four Arts’ programming and outreach in a way that is respectful of staff, responsive to patron interests, and appealing to the community as a whole.



The President will be a top-notch administrator who will also have the following experience and qualifications: 

  • A proven track record as an executive responsible for leading a significantly complex nonprofit institution or for-profit enterprise; experience working with trustees and trustee committees or serving on a not-for-profit board is a plus; experience working for a cultural institution represented within the Four Arts’ offerings, while not required, is also desirable; 

  • Business and financial acumen commensurate with running an institution of similar scope and stature; ability to develop and manage a budget, as well as interpret and articulate financial statements and financial performance; the ability to spearhead capital projects including new building, expansion, and renovation efforts is a plus; 

  • A sensibility that arises from a profound understanding and appreciation of the highest achievements in drama, art, music, and literature, along with an infectious enthusiasm for what these four arts mean to the institution’s membership; creativity in nurturing the development of exhibitions, programs, lectures, and services that engage visitors and are commensurate with the Four Arts’ standards of excellence; 

  • Persuasiveness and accomplishments as a fundraiser; the ability to be personable and at ease in the role of seeking and asking for capital and operational support, as well as comfortable with great wealth; the ability to fit into the culture of Palm Beach; 

  • The ability to engage, inspire, and motivate staff to new levels of effectiveness, collaboration, and programmatic impact; the ability to build consensus and manage effectively in all directions; 

  • Conversant in the most up-to-date uses of technology and digital media in promoting an institution and reaching audiences; the ability to coalesce the Four Arts’ social messaging under one overarching social media strategy; meaningful experience in overseeing effective information technology upgrades and infrastructure; 

  • Willingness to actively participate in the cultural and civic life of Palm Beach and integrate the Four Arts’ programs, exhibitions, and activities with the region’s other museums and cultural institutions; 

  • Outstanding communication skills in both spoken and written expression.



The ideal candidate will exemplify a high degree of integrity and social and emotional intelligence. He or she will also be or have the following:

  • An entrepreneurial and far-sighted leader; a person with ideas – able to inspire and instill in others confidence, energy, good feeling, and collaboration; 

  • Someone with gravitas as well as personal and social skills who will tell the Four Arts story in a persuasive way, understands the role of tradition, and will respect the legacy of the founders and current members of the institution; 

  • An intellectually nimble, articulate, and informed voice for the Four Arts to the Palm Beach community and beyond; someone who is viewed and respected as an advocate for the arts, with a well-balanced local perspective and significant leadership experience; not easily intimidated; 

  • A strong work ethic; able to manage multiple priorities and engagement strategies, ranging from the broad and strategic to the narrow and tactical without loss of focus; 

  • Humble yet decisive; able to balance diverse agendas and points of view and delegate as appropriate while maintaining on all fronts a sense of continuity and common purpose; 

  • Apolitical and possessing diplomatic skills; a person who can negotiate and navigate change graciously while remaining clear, decisive, proactive, and fair. 



Though on-campus residency is not required, the President will have the option of living in a spacious and beautiful apartment provided by the Four Arts. 

Please send applications or nominations to Jane Phillips Donaldson and Mark Tarnacki at 

*Please mention to employers when applying for this job*
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